What do you pursue?

April 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
(1 Timothy 6:11 (NIV))

There are so many things in this world that vie for our attention and our time. Too many of us pursue things that we shouldn’t, and it shows.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

We chase after things of this world. We chase after riches. We chase after power and we chase after whatever feels good. Most people don’t care about the consequences of any of their actions. All that they are concerned about is themselves!

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NIV))

Don’t fall into the trap of pursuing things of this world, for this world is in a sinful, fallen state. Anything that you pursue, by its very nature, will also be in a sinful, fallen state. It will not last. Thieves can steal and moth and rust will destroy it. It will lead to destruction. When you die, these things that you felt that you have to pursue now will soon belong to someone else. Your wealth that you seek, that you pursue in this world will not save you from the consequences of your sins in this world.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV))

What do you pursue?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you desire to love?

March 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
(1 John 3:18 (NIV))

How many times a day do you say the words, “I love you.”?

Do you always mean it when you say them?

Do you have varying degrees of meaning behind what you say?

If you are like most people, these words could carry a meaning of anything from a strong like to a feeling of complete and total devotion. We say that we love ice cream. We say that we love puppies. We say that we love our families. We say that we love our spouse. We say that we love Jesus, and we say that we love God. When we say any of these, how do our actions reflect the statement? Do we say that we love puppies and then kick the next dog that we see? Do we say that we love our families and then spend all of our time at work? Do we say that we love Jesus and then use His name as a profanity? Do we say that we love God, yet choose to not spend time in His Word and in His presence?

It is said that talk is cheap and that actions speak louder than words. I truly like the following statement about how we are to convey the greatest love of all.

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
(St. Francis of Asisi)

Gospel means good news. It is the good news of God’s great love for us.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice to save us from our sins. Even though Jesus was the Word made flesh, it took action on His part to redeem us and to claim us for the truth. God said that He loves us, but He showed us just how much He loves us through actions. Think about that concept as it applies to your own life. What garners more results? Telling someone that you love them, or going out of your way to show them that you love them? The Lord went way out of His way to show us!

We can follow His example and show love or we can simply utter a few words.

How do you desire to love?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you known?

November 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35 (NIV))

After reading this passage, I have a very difficult question for you to consider!

Is there someone in the church that you do not love?

I started to ask this question using the following words. Is there someone in your church that you do not love? I quickly realized one thing that was drastically wrong with that wording, for it is not your church. It is not my church. It is THE church. It is the Body of Christ! It is not your body. It is not my body! We cannot claim ownership.

What we can claim, by the grace and mercy shown on the cross, is membership in the body!

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
(Romans 12″3-8 (NIV))

Do you hate your physical body?

We may have parts of our physical bodies that grow weak with age, but do we hate these parts? If we have a knee that can no longer support the weight that it once could, we do not inflict damage and hurt upon that knee. Do we hate the knee and reject it because it is not capable of doing what it once could? On the contrary, we bandage the knee. We treat the knee with care and sympathy. We do not inflict more pain and anguish upon it.

Why do we even think about doing this with other members of the Body of Christ? We should love each other just as Jesus has loved us! Do you wish to be known as the member of the Body who hates the knee?

How are you known?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you cover as well as you are covered?

September 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8 (NIV))

Do you believe this passage? Do you believe that love covers over a multitude of sins?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Just think of the multitude of sins that God’s love for us covered! Would we have the ability to claim salvation in the name of Jesus if our vast multitude of sins was not completely covered by God’s love for us? Would we be able to claim that we have been washed in the cleansing blood of the Lamb?

Think about what our response should be.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

We are told that if we believe in Jesus, then we will do the same things that He had done. The Father’s love was made manifest through Him and by this love, our sins are covered by His love. I am not saying that we have the power to forgive sins and to cover them, but we do have the power to love people and show them the love of God. We can let them know that their sins can also be covered by God’s love. Do we love others enough to lead them to Christ? Do we love others enough to allow them to be covered?

In other words, do you cover as well as you are covered?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you clang?

July 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
(1 Corinthians 13:1 (NIV))

Just what do you consider to be eloquent speech?

Are you capable of delivering your definition of eloquent speech? I dare say that most of us are not capable of delivering something that will captivate ourselves let alone others. We are so focused on what we will say next that we fail to completely say what we should and with the correct tone. There is an old saying that we are to listen twice as much as we speak for God gave us two ears and only one mouth. If the words that we speak do not sound like we are listening, are we speaking them in love? If the words that we speak are mean and vindictive, are we speaking them in love?

Perhaps we should show love through our actions, after all, some say that love is a verb. Let me ask a question. Which of the following shows love?

1. Telling a sick friend to call you if they need anything.
2. Bringing dinner to a sick friend.

Most of us are very good at doing the first one, but how many of us actually have done the second? The first one usually turns out to be an empty promise, while the second one places the well-being of others first.

Which one of these clang like a cymbal?

Do you clang?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How strong is your love for God’s children?

April 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
(1 John 3:16 (NIV))

Are you willing to go to this extreme?

Are you willing to lay down your life so that others can know salvation?

That is what Jesus was willing to do when the Father looked down from heaven and saw the sin in the world. That is what Jesus was willing to do so that all may be able to be redeemed. This is what Jesus was willing to do so that we may have the ability to spend eternity with God.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about this simple fact. Jesus was willing to lay down His life for you. Jesus was willing to lay down His life for me. He would have done it for only one person, but He did it for all. Through deductive reasoning, we are friends of Jesus and He is a friend of ours. If someone is willing to lay down one’s life for you, then they must consider you a friend.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:2 (NIV))

The primary work that Jesus came to accomplish was to lay down His life so that we may know salvation. Are we, as the Body of Christ, called to do any less so that others may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? God’s love for us was made manifest through Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Do you have the faith to allow God’s love to shine through you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God loves us enough to give us a lifeline!

February 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
(1 John 4:10 (NIV))

I saw this passage and had to share it. This definitely confirms that God loves us, but not in the way that society claims!

God loves us enough to offer His Son as an atoning sacrifice!

A sacrifice is something precious that is surrendered or destroyed for the sake of something else. According to this definition, it doesn’t make sense that God would surrender His Son to be killed if there was not a very good reason to do so. If, according to society, God accepts us as we are, then why would a sacrifice need to be made on our behalf? If you believe society’s interpretation, we are all perfect in the eyes of God. Think about this from a different perspective. If you are a parent and you have family members who are doing what you know to be right, would you willingly put yourself in harms way for no reason? Would you willingly suffer to rescue someone who didn’t need to be rescued?

I find it overwhelmingly sad that too many people reject Jesus because they don’t see that what they do is wrong in the eyes of God. They believe that God loves them and will welcome them with open arms just as they are. They fail to recognize their sinful nature and the righteous nature of God. They don’t see a need to be made right, to be redeemed, in the eyes of God. All that they choose to understand is that God is love. They fail to understand that we chose to rebel, and, as a result, we have no way back to God. We are without hope and we are perishing. In the midst of our hopelessness, God has given us a lifeline!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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